82-year-old Brian Pinker receives the Oxford University/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on January 4, 2021 in Oxford, England.
  • UK pharma giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University are co-developing a 'next generation' Covid-19 vaccine.
  • These vaccines will be designed to combat coronavirus variants, including those found in the UK and South Africa.
  • Mene Pangalos, executive vice-president at AstraZeneca, said they're aiming to have it ready by autumn, per Reuters.
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AstraZeneca and Oxford University have co-developed a "next generation" Covid-19 vaccine to tackle new coronavirus variants, and it could be available in the Autumn, its executive vice-president said Wednesday.

"We're very much aiming to try and have something ready by the autumn, so this year," Mene Pangalos said, per Reuters.

AstraZeneca has already co-developed a Covid-19 vaccine that is authorised for emergency use in the UK, the EU, and seven other countries.

But there is a drive for new vaccines that specifically target coronavirus variants. Studies suggest the shots available right now may not work as well on certain variants, especially against a mutation found in the variant from South Africa. This mutation has also been detected in some cases of the variant found in the UK. 

Both of these variants have been identified in the US.

"We're working very hard and we're already talking about not just the variants that we have to make in laboratories, but also the clinical studies that we need to run," Pangalos said. 

Pfizer and Moderna - drugmakers that have also developed existing Covid-19 shots - are working on ways of protecting against coronavirus variants too.

Pfizer said January 26 that it was working on booster shots. Moderna said January 25 that it would develop a new version of its Covid-19 shot to fight 501.Y.V2, the variant found in South Africa.

UK pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline announced Wednesday that it has agreed to co-develop vaccines to target multiple coronavirus variants at once with German biotech CureVac.

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